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Peter Blake: Classics Revisited

  • 3 min read

 

Peter Blake is a unique artist who loves to revisit his earlier work, re-examining it and further exploring ideas. This can be seen in his fabulous new print, which is a contemporary reworking of an old favourite.

 

Since the mid 80s Blake has been going back over his artwork and updating it with fresh new versions. This idea of engaging with past reflects Blake’s desire to evoking a strong sense of nostalgia in his work and transport the viewer to different eras. Blake describes his motive for reconsidering his work: “I felt that some of the American Pop artists had only one idea in the early 1960s, then repeated that idea over and over again, mainly for commercial reasons, whereas I had often only painted one picture from an idea, and it would sometimes have been worth further paintings".

 

 

A fine example of his revisited work is the updated version of the iconic of Sgt Peppers album cover Blake made in 2012 to celebrate his 80th Birthday. The newly revamped work featured a host of Blake’s celebrity friends, contemporary heroes other cultural icons including Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, David Hockney and Noel Gallagher. Another case of Blake restyling a classic work is his silkscreen print ‘The Second Real Target’ published in 2009 nearly fifty years after he painted the original ‘The First Real Target’, which is now part of the Tate’s collection. The initial painting refers to the work of American artist Jasper Johns, one of Blake’s contemporaries who also incorporated images taken from popular culture into a fine art context. There is a great feeling of continuity when comparing the two target pieces.

 

 

This leads us on to a very exciting announcement, the release of Peter Blake’s latest incredible print ‘Tiny Tina the Tattooed Lady’, a reworking and of a familiar motif in Blake’s work. His first tattooed lady edition came out back in 1985 with the screen print depicted a blonde woman with a selection of brightly coloured inked designs. The theme of the print fits in with Blake’s love of traditional circuses and the associated characters from various Victorian era shows.

 

Blake made the original painting that inspired the prints, ‘Loelia, World’s Most Tattoed Lady’, back in 1955 while a student at The Royal College of Art. The piece was painted in oils onto a wooden panel in a naïve, folk art style and emerged during Blake’s earliest period of Pop-Art. The art historian Marco Livingstone describes ‘Loelia’ as “a multi-layered proto-Pop painting, which occupies a key position in the history of British Pop Art”. The painting gained international recognition in 2010 when it sold in an auction at Christies for a Blake record of £337,250- double the highest estimate.

Peter Blake is well known for continuing to innovate and evolve his artistic practice, favouring new techniques and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the medium of printmaking. Blake has made his new edition of ‘Tiny Tina’ uniquely customisable, allowing the purchaser the luxury of choosing from 6 different coloured bikinis and hairband when ordering, allowing for a great number of different colour combinations. The additional elements are then collaged onto the finished print. The print is a signed limited edition giclee on 330gsm Somerset Satin paper and is from an edition of just 100.

 

 

On ‘Tiny Tina’ Blake has seamlessly blended modern and Victorian style illustrations and typography, giving the whole image a simultaneously contemporary and retro feel. Despite now being in his 80s Peter Blake has always retained a distinct air of coolness and a reputation for staying one step ahead of the avant-garde.It is also very fitting his latest print features a woman adorned with tattoos as the form of body modification is currently at the apex of popularity, with more and more people deciding to have artwork indelibly inked onto their skin. ‘Tiny Tina’ is a fantastic and inventive reinterpretation of an icon Blake image. For the first time the treasured artist has allowed the buyer of the work to decided upon elements of the design and colour scheme. Remember there will only be 100 customisable Tiny Tina’s printed, so move quickly to avoid miss out on this absolute gem!

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